Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief


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Guest Blogger: My Son, Frankie

We are getting ready for school and I tell Frankie it’s Thursday. Blog day. As usual, I’m stuck for an idea. Somehow it morphed into him writing it. Perfect! When he was five, he wrote a beautiful and poignant story called, “The Kite and the Snowflake,” that won third place in the Reading Rainbow contest, which was a huge deal. (Sorry, brief bragging moment.) Anyhow, here it is, an interview/blog from 12-year-old Frankie.

What will you write about? “Nothing is more important than football.”

Why would you say that? “It’s true.”

Can you be more specific? “Cause it’s fun to watch guys tackle each other.”

Seriously, what makes it interesting? “There are a lot of different positions. Then there a lot of different players that fill each position. It’s not a run-on game. The clock stops and starts. Passing, running. Contracts are interesting- how much the players get paid.”

Anyone that knows you, would have expected you to say that nothing is more important than hockey. Why the switch? “I don’t know. The Sabres suck! Hockey gets boring. For football, every team has a phenom player.”

What the heck is that? “A phenomenal player.”

Who are some of your favorite phenoms this year? “I don’t even know how I got into writing this blog! Are you going to write down everything I say?”

At this point, Frankie grabbed the computer himself and typed, “Sammy Watkins, Mario Williams, Jerry Jughes, Kyle Williams, Marcel Dareus, Leodis Mckelvin, Dan Carpenter, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers.” The bus came at this point and he handed me back the computer saying, “I can’t possibly write them all down.”

This blog doesn’t do him justice. He can hold a conversation with any adult about any sport- hockey, football, basketball, baseball. Men (usually it’s men!) are amazed and have often told me he knows more about sports than most adults they know. One guy actually hired Frankie to help him with a fantasy draft last year. He knows the history, every team in the league, every player, their stats… It’s crazy. He wants to be a general manager someday so he has written HUNDREDS of drafts for teams. Hundreds. Knows every NFL and NHL player’s salary.

Anyhow, this is one of the best mornings I have had in a long, long time. Frankie has been shutting me out for a couple of years now. Getting him to interact with me is a heart-wrenching and usually futile endeavor. This little interchange between us is monumental. It was a connection. I will take it. Thanks for sharing it with me :).


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Women and Sports

I am pretty sensitive to any hint of sexism, especially if it makes us women appear weak in any way. I know plenty of women who are athletic and knowledgeable about sports- by either playing themselves or with watching.

Me? I fall into the stereotype. I am not athletic. In fact, I am rather clumsy and accident prone at times. I try very hard to understand the basics about sports so I can interact with other people. But lots of times I just can’t wrap my mind around it.

Last night, I was at a speaking engagement out in the country. I got talking with a woman a little older than me and I ended up having one of those embarrassing laughs. When I really laugh hard, I cackle. It’s loud and goofy and it embarrasses Frankie to no end. But I just couldn’t help it.

Somehow the conversation had turned to sports and I was lamenting my ignorance. She told me she could probably top any story I had. She is an EMT by profession. She had gotten assigned to some sporting group, a football team to be exact. She saw the group of men in a circle with their heads down and ran into the field. Her husband (also an EMT) ran after her to stop her. He couldn’t figure out what she was doing.

She explained to him that obviously someone had been injured badly and she was trying to get to him as quickly as possible. He probably had to tackle her to stop her, which is pretty ironic considering it was a football game. He explained to her that it was a “HUDDLE” and what that meant exactly. I laughed my butt off when she told me. That is such a Darcy move if I ever heard of one.

Like in high school when I attempted to play basketball and shot at the wrong basket. The saving grace was that I sucked (of course) so I missed the basket.

Or the first time I went to a professional hockey game. I was living in Chicago at the time and my roommate took me to a Blackhawk’s game. Now she happened to be very athletic and sports-gifted, unlike me. We were sitting there with thousands and thousands of people and a fight broke out. At a hockey game? Really? It was my first one so I had no idea that fighting was pretty standard. So all those people were going crazy and cheering the fight on. I was mortified. I thought I was witnessing humanity at its very worst. I started crying. Yes, I actually started crying. I thought it was violent and cruel. My roommate laughed so hard at me I thought she was going to pee her pants.

See how much I’ve evolved? I can go to a Sabres game and relish the fight like everyone else. I get caught up in it like everyone else. And I’ve learned the rules. Last fight I saw, our guy got the crap kicked out of him. But at the last moment, he was on top and pulled the other guy down to the ice. Everyone went wild. So I learned that you can lose badly, but the only thing that matters is the last five seconds. Everyone forgets what happens before that.

I even went to a game recently with someone who does not like the Sabres. I endured his pot shots as the Sabres lost, like they do ever so often unfortunately. I threatened to beat him up, but he’s a prison guard so I thought better of it. I may have evolved, but I’m not stupid!

Never in a million years would I have dreamed that I would consider that growth. What has happened to my bleeding heart? But hey, I do know what a football huddle is so I guess I’m not completely hopeless :)!